Archive for January, 2012

January 31, 2012

The Daily Scoop: Obama’s energy plan: The winners, and winners

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — President Obama’s half dozen energy proposals will, by and large, benefit nearly all players in the energy space and result in lower prices for consumers, analysts say.

  • Analysts say the combination of Obama’s plans truly represent an “all-of-the-above” approach.
  • Natural gas, out off all the different energy players, natural gas seems to have won the most.
  • The oil industry, Obama offered new leases in the Gulf of Mexico and pledged to open 75% of the country’s resources for drilling, which reflects a prior commitment made by the President.
  • Oil and natural gas production has jumped 14% and 10% respectively, according to the Energy Information Administration.j
  • For renewables technologies like wind and solar, Obama called for extending tax credits that basically give these firms a 30% subsidy.
  • Electricity from solar and wind has risen three-fold since Obama took office, according to those industries’ trade associations.
  • Coal and nuclear are the only two fuels that didn’t garner an outright mention but the bipartisan Policy Center’s Bledsoe said the administration is on track to give the final OK on an $8 billion loan guarantee for a new nuclear plant in Georgia sometime in the next few weeks.
  • The consumer: While prices for oil, which trades globally, remain relatively high, natural gas prices have plummeted, largely as a result of production increases.
  • EIA estimates the country’s oil production will grow another 20% by 2020 & due to that and higher fuel efficiency standards the United States will go from importing 49% of its oil in 2010 to 38% by 2020.
  • “Ultimately, consumers will be the beneficiaries of these policies,” said Mayer Brown’s Valera. “And when the consumer at large wins, businesses of all type win.”

The President has restated previous commitments and offered new policy plans that appeal to both political parties. These policies can be reached if professionalism prevails to take advantage of this out-stretched hand for long  awaited compromise.  While many of us with ever-present environmental concerns for continued oil & gas development this balanced approach to the country’s overall energy policy is the pragmatic solution.
Read more…

About these ads
January 31, 2012

The Daily Scoop: Panetta cites key intelligence on bin Laden raid

This article calls into question once again the claims by proponents of torture that its methods played a significant role in the finding bin Laden and subsequent attack on his compound.  

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is acknowledging publicly for the first time that a Pakistani doctor provided key information to the U.S. in advance of the successful Navy SEAL assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound last May.

Panetta told CBS’s “60 Minutes,” in a profile to be broadcast on Sunday, that Shakil Afridi helped provide intelligence for the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Read more…

January 30, 2012

The Daily Scoop: Why Gingrich would lose debate with Obama

Newt Gingrich is basing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, in large part, on one premise: He is the candidate best equipped to debate President Obama.

If he becomes the nominee, Gingrich asserts, he will challenge the president to seven Lincoln-Douglas-style debates, three hours apiece. He says the president’s ego would compel him to accept, but if he doesn’t, Gingrich promises, “I’m going to say, ‘The White House is now my scheduler,’ and wherever he goes, I will show up within four hours to take apart whatever he said — that’s how Lincoln got Douglas to debate.”

It’s easy to dismiss Gingrich’s challenge as a gimmick, just some red meat to excite GOP primary voters, and not a challenge Obama would ever accept. But what if he did? What if the president and the former House speaker dueled in a series of open, nationally televised debates? An honest look at Gingrich’s record suggests that the results could differ markedly from the fantasies of Team Newt.
Read more…

January 28, 2012

The Daily Scoop: Microbubbles Cut Cost of Algae-Derived Biofuel

Some positve news on the biofuel front.

Algae naturally produce oil. When it’s processed, that oil can be turned into biofuel, an alternative energy source. There’s just one snag—harvesting the oil from algae-filled water is prohibitively expensive. But researchers have come up with an effervescent solution: bubbles smaller than the width of a human hair can help reduce the costs of collecting algae oil.

So-called microbubbles are already used for water purification—they surround contaminants and float them out of the liquid. Similarly, in water containing algae, bubbles can float the algae to the surface for easy collection and processing.

The research builds on previous work that used microbubbles to grow algae more densely and thus increase production. This time, however, the researchers produced the fizziness with a new method that uses far less energy, and is cheaper to install. The study is in the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering. [James Hanotu, HC Hemaka Bandulasena and William B Zimmerman, Microflotation performance for algal separation]

Although microbubbles improve algae harvesting in the lab, they still have to work at larger scales. The researchers are planning a pilot program for an algae biofuel plant, in the hope of making really green energy.
60-Second Science from Scientific American

Partha Das Sharma Weblog

From Partha Das Sharma Weblog

January 27, 2012

The Daily Scoop: Supply-side economics at core of Gingrich plan

With the economy at the core of the presidential campaign, Newt Gingrich has received help from a group of relatively unknown economic thinkers — including two former advisers to Herman Cain — who share an unwavering faith in the school of thought known as “supply-side economics” that rose to prominence more than three decades ago.

Unlike Mitt Romney, who long ago surrounded himself with mainstream Republican economists, Gingrich has turned to more zealous advisers who believe the only true solution to healing the nation’s deficit is to spur economic growth through sharp tax cuts, reduced regulation and a tight rein on monetary policy, rather than focusing too keenly on spending cuts.
Read more…

January 25, 2012

The Daily Scoop: 2 Studies – Global Abortion Rates & Teen Pregnancy

Today, the Daily Scoop includes two studies that illustrate the overall need for increased education, awareness and availability of contraception. The first article compares abortion frequencies and related health impacts from countries with abortion bans and little to no family planning & contraception education versus those where abortion is legal and family planning is available.

The second discusses recent CDC study findings which illuminates general misconceptions of contraception and possibilities of becoming pregnant on the part of teen mothers.

Abortions Are More Common in Countries that Outlaw Them

Abortion rates are higher in countries where the procedure is illegal and  nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, with the vast majority in  developing countries, a new study concludes.

Experts couldn’t say whether more liberal laws led to fewer procedures, but  said good access to birth control in those countries resulted in fewer unwanted  pregnancies.

The global abortion rate remained virtually unchanged from 2003 to 2008, at  about 28 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, a total of about 43.8 million  abortions, according to the study. The rate had previously been dropping since  1995.

About 47,000 women died from unsafe abortions in 2008, and another 8.5  million women had serious medical complications. Almost all unsafe abortions  were in developing countries, where family planning and contraceptive programs  have mostly levelled off.

Read more…

CDC: Many teen moms didn’t think it could happen

ATLANTA (AP) — A new government study suggests a lot of teenage girls are clueless about their chances of getting pregnant.

In a survey of thousands of teenage mothers who had unintended pregnancies, about a third who didn’t use birth control said the reason was they didn’t believe they could pregnant.
Read more…

January 24, 2012

The Daily Scoop: Obama Vow on Exports Is on Track, With Help

WASHINGTON — Two years ago, President Obama popped a surprise into his State of the Union address: His administration would double American exports in five years, helping to create two million jobs.

The bold promise sent the eyebrows of economists and policy experts upward, even as they applauded its intent.

Two years later, the administration is on track — for now — to meet its ambitious goal. Growing exports have been one of the central drivers of the recovery, accounting for about half the nation’s economic growth since the recession ended. Economists say the administration deserves credit for some of the gains.
Read more…

January 24, 2012

Graphic Content: Correlation Or Coincidence?

Originally posted on Brucetheeconomist's Blog:

 

A number of people have sent me this, so in case you haven’t seen the latest in the treasure trove of funny correlation does not imply causation graphs, here it is. From Businessweek:

(Click to see the full-size graphic on the original site, of course.) Most of these examples are absurd enough that people wouldn’t be likely to wrongly infer causality from them, but this might not be the case if the comparisons were more reasonable…or if people, as I do, believe that both Facebook and mountains are causing the downfall of Western civilization.

I was originally going to make a point about spurious correlation, but I am told that spurious correlation, rather than being random, occurs when events appear to be linked because they share a common cause. Raging narcissism of bankers aside, I can’t imagine that, for example, the rise of Facebook and the Greek…

View original 86 more words

January 23, 2012

The Daily Scoop: Fracked: The Debate Over Shale Gas Deepens

Is shale gas good for us or not? Most of that argument has been over the  potential risks that hydrofracking for shale gas might pose to water  supplies—risks that were highlighted again this week when the Environmental  Protection Agency (EPA) came to Dimock, PA, to test groundwater in the area. You  might know Dimock from the anti-fracking film Gasland—a group of  residents have claimed for years that fracking poisoned their water supply, and  federal involvement indicates there may be more at stake.
Read more…

January 20, 2012

One More Time, Why Do We Need Keystone?

Morphing into a political and economic lightning rod, the current Keystone pipeline plan’s fate was decided this week…Permit DENIED.  The decision was met with scathing criticisms from  Republicans and praise from the President’s supporters. While much of the debate bounded between the two dominant issues; job creation and environmental concerns, few have asked, “Why?” Why do we need another pipeline for Canadian crude?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 294 other followers